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Posted by: Leaky
July 16, 2002, 11:43 AM

This was supposed to be another Harry Potter summer. But that was before author J.K. Rowling failed to deliver the latest in her seven-book series about the mystical adventures of a boy-wizard. As many parents and educators will attest, the books' real magic is that they hold kids spellbound — and get them reading. Yet, even without the latest sequel, signs suggest that magic may live on. (From USA Today.)

Michigan Live has the following report on how Scholastic's marketing strategies for an upcoming book are similar to those used for the "Harry Potter" series:

How do you follow Harry Potter? Barry Cunningham, the publisher who had the prescience and good fortune to snap up an unknown manuscript by J.K. Rowling called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in 1996, has found a new children's book. And although he abhors comparisons to his experience with Ms. Rowling, the new book is getting a send-off that indicates its handlers harbor similar aspirations for this novel.

The book, by German author Cornelia Funke, is "The Thief Lord," about a group of runaway children in Venice whose lives are affected by more than a hint of magic. They survive in part through the good graces of the Thief Lord, a mysterious child who provides stolen treasure that can be sold. Mr. Cunningham will publish it later this month in England. W.H. Smith Group PLC, one of the United Kingdom's largest booksellers, has agreed to take 20,000 of the 60,000 paperbacks being printed -- a hefty commitment for a largely unknown writer. There is also a much smaller hardcover run of 5,000.

Then, in September, Scholastic Corp., the U.S. publisher of Harry Potter, is printing 75,000 hardcover copies. Scholastic typically publishes just 10,000 copies of a new children's novel. In the case of the "Sorcerer's Stone," the first Harry Potter book published here, Scholastic initially printed 35,000. (Today, there are nearly 23 million copies in print in the U.S., including paperbacks.)

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